tv BBC World News America PBS August 22, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
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>> and now, "bbc world news america." >> this is bbc world news america reporting from washington. i'm kathy kaye. a stunning 24 hours in libya after six months of a brutal civil war and four decades of gaddafi rule, rebel fighters storm the capital. but it is not secured debt, as our correspondent found. -- secured yet, as our correspondent found. and wherever colonel gaddafi is, his days as leader of libya are seemingly over. what does that mean for the people behind these protest?
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. muammar gaddafi's 42-year rule as a dictator is coming to a bloody end. after six months of civil war, rebel commanders have reported they control about 80% of the capital. but gaddafi's forces have not given up and they're still fighting about his compound. although it is not actually clear whether he himself is in the capital. foreign journalists are staying in a hotel and is from there that matthew price begin our coverage. >> on the streets of tripoli, and revolution. they chanted their new libyan national anthem and flew the flag of what they believe is the free libya. "gaddafi, your time is up," they
cried. moving into green square where just days ago colonel gaddafi's supporters found the city was safe. they tore down his posters and flags. 3 miles away in a luxury hotel, we watched as krul dobbie's spokesman gave what may -- colonel gaddafi's spokesman gave what may be his last press conference. >> 1000 professional soldiers are ready to defend this city. >> but even as he was speaking, the rebels were celebrating. trampling the leader they have come to despise. today, rebel forces continued to stream into tripoli, believing they are on the verge of a significant victory. this is now wasted these -- a
series of checkpoints. men protect their neighborhoods, worried about what colonel gaddafi's forces may do next. in areas, there has been fierce fighting. battles have raged around colonel gaddafi's,. the gaddafi family is under pressure like never before. last night came news that another son, his presumed successor, had been arrested. he faces war crimes charges that the international criminal court. then on aljazeera, another gaddafi son, mohammad, was live on air one rebels seized him. -- when rebels seized him. >> i am being attacked right now. this is gunfire outside my house. they are inside my house.
but what of colonel gaddafi himself? he made a short address last night, calling for supporters to rise up. is he in tripoli? what is he planning? this city is not under full opposition control. here in the hotel, for instance, where foreign journalists have stayed since this conflict began, gadhafi the supporters are out on the street. it is hard to determine how much of the city they still hold, but it is not over. >> nato continued its air strikes. without its air support, the rebels would not be in a strong position they find themselves now. and libyan state television, and gaddafi mouthpiece, has now fallen off air. opposition supporters are still confident enough to be freely
talking about the new libya. they believe colonel gaddafi is finished. >> even with his big army, they lose control. >> will his supporters lay down their guns or fight to the last? >> president obama this afternoon issued a statement that the gaddafi administration is unraveling and called for a peaceful transition of power. but he reserved his strongest words of encouragement for organ -- ordinary of libyan citizens. >> your courage and character have been on pape -- on gergel in the face of a tyrant. we are joined in the basic human longing for freedom, justice, and dignity.
your revolution is your own, and your sacrifices have been extraordinary. now, live yet that you deserve is within your reach. >> -- the libya that you deserve is within your reach. >> i am joined by william cohen, and served as u.n. defense secretary under president clinton. how would you categorize the events of the last 24 hours? >> i think the u.s. has been quite reserved and modest in both tone and tenor of what the president was saying, but i think there is obviously some concern. the use the words "inclusion" and "reconciliation." those two words are critical in
how libya unfolds. they made mistakes in both iraq and afghanistan. if they seek rich region and to go after and kill -- seek retribution and to go after and killed a former officials of the army, that will invite a chaotic time and no one can tell how it will unfold. >> it struck me that the statement that president obama put out last night and in listening to him today there is an element of caution. i wonder if that is a reflection of the mistakes made in the past with other countries. but also, america does not know much about who is dealing with here. >> we do not. america is taking a great leap of faith in providing the military support to the rebels, the governing body as such.
we still did not know at the time we committed those very much about them. >> you think that we know more now? >> we probably no more -- know more now. if we put cia agents on the ground to put -- we've put cia agents on the ground to evaluate and gather intelligence. i think we have a better sense of it, but i think there is still a great sense of ambiguity and a lot to be determined. >> what kind of material support do you think the west is prepared to offer to the rebels, the new libyan government? >> i think we ought to be somewhat cautious and pulled back just a bit and say, what is it they want from us rather than
as deciding what needs to be done. the president was praising the people. they are the ones doing the fighting and dying. and now they have to say, what do we need? obviously, they need stability. we can still provide an element of intelligence and precision munitions to take out the opposition with any kind of force. certainly, they need stability to reconstitute their country. they need to have access to humanitarian assistance. they need medicine. they need cash flow. they need all of those things, which are pretty rudimentary. then the question comes, how then ask us. -- have them ask us. >> thank you for coming in. it was over the weekend that the rebel advance into tripoli gained pace with fighters coming
from more sides of the country. as this report makes clear, the resistance from pro-bit of forces is not yet over. the -- pro-khaddafi forces is not yet over. >> there has been shooting and looting in the background. every time we go past, groups of young men celebrating. so far, no signs of fighting in the city. it looks pretty quiet. we are approaching the center of tripoli. we have come up against this roadblock. they say there is still fighting going on ahead. there are a few gaddafi soldiers up ahead. they are bringing in rebel
fighters. they just passed us in a car ahead. where is gaddafi? >> nobody knows. [in distinct yelling] >> he is hiding somewhere. >> he may be in sirte. >> although it appears very quiet on the surface here in tripoli this morning, it is also clearly still extremely tense and there are parts of the city that are not under rebel control and there is still resistance going on. then we came across a convoy heading into the city. listen. we decided to follow them as they headed along the seafront toward the city center. up ahead, still signs of
fighting. but then we ran straight into an ambush. we sought a 20 millimeter anti- aircraft cannon firing directly into the center of our convoy. [gunfire] [yelling] >> it is clear that despite the overnight celebrations, this is a city that is far from safe or secure. bbc news, tripoli. >> for more on where the libyan people go from here, i am joined by a senior fellow at the hoover institution in new york. i want to pick up where i was talking with secretary cohen a
moment ago about how much america has learned about who is dealing with now in the rebel forces. how much do you know about these rebel forces -- forces and how united they are. -- how united they are? >> that is a good question. there were many questions about them. do we know enough about them? we cannot really have to much knowledge, if you will. they felt shamed by association with gaddafi. we know that many of them are constitutionalists and academics and doctors and lawyers who went back from the diaspora, from libyan exile to reclaim their country. there are flickers of al qaeda. i do not know what flickers are. i do not see this new libya being hijacked by al qaeda. >> what will you be looking for
over the next weeks and months to see whether this is a government that manages to make a successful transition to democratic libya? >> i am fairly optimistic. i think there is the enormous talent that gaddafi had driven into exile and driven underground. we can all be sure that one way or another, the libyan people will come of with something better than this monstrous regime now in the saddle in libya. we will not have the thievery that goes on in libya today. and we will not have a man who brings down civilian aircraft every now and then and then prevents to the outside world that he is a guardian of the stability in europe against immigrants from africa. >> there are experts here suggesting that we could be
heading into a time of some uncertainty in libya. there could be reprisals against gaddafi's forces. and it is not necessarily an easy time that libya is heading into. >> you are absolutely right. anyone who would pretend that is polley and--- pollyannish about libyan history. the absence of viable institutions in libya, because the despot eight the green and left the dry, he left no viable institutions to aid them in to a democracy. you have people basically living in a big prison for four decades and they do not have the skills of human governments -- governance. they will get them in a hurry. we know where libya is under
khaddafi today. and we know these people in ben ghazi have something better in mind that this regime nowlin pallipurath retsof thank you for bearing with me -- that this regime now. >> thank you for bearing with me while whethethere were problemsh your earpiece. coming up, developments against the former imf chief, domenick stress conn. -- dominique strauss-kahn. libya was responsible for about 2% of the world's oil production, but production has slumped since february when fighting began. although it could begin trickling out, experts say it will be years before i put this back to normal. >> since march this year, anti- gadhafi rebels have been trying to reopen oilfields as a top
priority. despite their efforts, there has been significant damage to pipelines, oil fields, and storage facilities. this amateur footage shows an attacker perpetrated by pro- gaddafi loyalists. all production stopped as a result. some oil could flow within three weeks, but more meaningful production is likely to take much longer. >> libya was exporting 1.3 billion barrels of oil per day. >> it is as much about politics as it is about repairs. the biggest oil fields are in the east of the country and have been under rebel control for some time. but the oil fields in the west are still the subject of u.s. export sanctions. as yet, it is unclear who is in charge here politically. >> what after gaddafi?
say he goes soon, who is going to come to power? will the west and the eastview night? how much do we know about the hierarchy -- will the west and the east you night? how much do we know about the hierarchy between them? >> there hasn't been a small fall in the price of oil so far. partly, that is because fears about the global economy have already pushed prices down. but there is also uncertainty about how and when the viet can resume sizable deliveries. -- when libya can resume sizable deliveries. >> and we have one other story about the via before you tonight. in the last hour it has been announced the prosecutors in new york has asked a judge to dismiss charges against dominique strauss-kahn.
he reacted angrily to the charges -- his lawyer reacted angrily to the charges, saying his client had -- the victim's lawyer reacted angrily to the announcement about the charges. >> he was hauled off an air france plane and arrested and paraded around in handcuffs. now the case seems to be falling apart. prosecutors have come to question because credibility -- question the credibility of the accuser, a single mother from north africa. >> have they given reasons for why they are dropping the case? >> we do not know too many details, other than some that have started to trickle out a couple of weeks ago when a judge lifted the veil and house
arrest restrictions on strauss conn. at that point we learn that she lied on her asylum application to the u.s. we're also learning about how she changed her story when it came to a movements in the hours following the alleged sexual encounter between her and dominique strauss-kahn. as you mentioned, lawyers can now -- came out after the announcement saying that she has been denied justice. the forensic evidence shows there was some kind of sexual encounter. the question is whether it was forced or consensual. dominique strauss-kahn has always maintained that it was consensual. >> thanks very much for joining us.
and returning to our top story, libya, with the gaddafi regime seemingly in its last hours, many find it hard to imagine it without him. afterward, he ruled for four decades. he inspired fear at home and terrorism abroad. >> is there something in the mindset of dictators that makes them blind to their own impending downfall? this bizarre moment came only in february, as rebel forces were seizing half his country. he seemed to imagine himself invisible -- in vincible. >> they love me, my people love me. >> muammar gaddafi seized power in a coup d'etat in 1969. he was 27. libya became isolated and
feared. he backed armed group of around the world. he helped arm the ira. a policewoman was killed when someone opened fire in a libyan embassy. no one was ever brought to justice. two years later, a bombing of a nightclub that was full of u.s. servicemen the americans bombed his compound. he survived, defiant, strengthened in his own sense of himself as a heroic defender of the week against the strong. [crowd chanting] 270 died when a jet was downed over lockerbie. the investigation led to the villa. -- libya. then he said -- surrendered of
the suspects. he also announced he was an ally in the war on terror. western countries embraced him. >> we want to -- if he wants to seize his ties with terrorist groups, then we will open up to that. >> at home, he and his family were feared an increasingly revile. a popular uprising began in february and nato intervened in march. still, he believed in his improbable hold on power. -- impregnable hold on power. tonight, his fate remains undecided. but his 42-year regime, his ability to rein terror, is
surely over. >> the rebels swept into tripoli with a speed that took many by surprise, but as we have seen, the capitals still faces some on certain days. here is -- here are some rebels with their own story of the past 24 hours. ♪ >> the freedom fighters are starting their attacks. by evening, we were in tripoli. it is a great moment for us. it is a beautiful day for us. it is a beautiful day to be free. ♪ >> the rebels know what they are doing. they're not looking to hurt civilians. but the gaddafi's forces are what you should be afraid of. >> in all areas of tripoli, they are in the neighborhoods. they are gathering together as a
group and they control their own neighborhoods. but there is fighting for a moment to moment. ♪ >> we cannot feel peace. we cannot feel victory until we see gaddafi captured. >> the future is freedom, freedom and we get the chance -- not everyone gets the chance to start on a new blank page. ♪ >> the residents of libya work in their own words. we were talking last week about stalemate. that is certainly not a word that we use today. that brings us to the end of the broadcast. you can have all of the events unfolding in libya on our website. and you can reach me and most of the bbc team on twitter. thanks so much for watching.